‘Faded’ represents a meeting point of two worlds both artistically and socially as the creative brain child of singer-songwriter Lyves and film director Roxy Rezvany. The video forms part of the singer’s project 8 room which aims to explore the complexity of human nature as conveyed through a variety of intimate stories. Roxy is a British filmmaker of Iranian-Malaysian-Chinese descent, recognised by The Dots as a Creative Trailblazer of 2018, and was commissioned by Lyves to visually represent the emotions explored on the song.
The music video tells the story of a young Iranian immigrant living in 1970s London who becomes deeply entwined in a romantic relationship as opiate to realities of life. The tale is beautifully narrated by Lyves’ enchanting vocals and colourful lyrism. Inspired by the eventual demise of a relationship, the visuals follow the protagonists denial as everything slowly begins to fall apart. Roxy explains, “the idea was to explore a side to the era that often evades depiction in British popular culture: the cultural complexity of interracial relationships, the isolation of pioneering immigrants without a community, and the struggle maintaining an idealism in the face of adversity that is essential to helping you chase your dreams.”
Director Roxy attributes her work with cinematographer Beatriz Sastre as one of the key drivers of the music videos success, combining Super 8 film footage and digital footage shot with the Arri Alexa mini to produce the desired throwback effect. “Beatriz and I worked towards a colour palette that we felt would evoke the era, and colourist Tim Smith did a lot with the grade to evoke the 1970s building out from there.”
Moving from colour schemes to character portrayals it is evident that the details often considered to be minute truly matter to Rezvany. “The styling team,Georgie Roberton on wardrobe, Georgie St John James on hair, and Grace Ellington on makeup, did a lot of work from references we had pulled of 70s styling to bring the characters to life”. However whilst trying to capture the essence of the era the crew took care to avoid a stereotypical depiction of the characters.
A dose of social realism shrouded in the magic of a budding romance, the cinematic brilliance of the video was found in the way that it flickered between these contrasting perspectives. Extending beyond it’s filmic effects, ‘Faded’ contained numerous visual references which were central to its 70s setting, one of the most notable being the launderette. “The launderette is where 'Sherry' the lead character works”, the Roxy shares.
“It was also a subtle homage to the British film 'My Beautiful Launderette', which is one of the few British films I feel portrays three dimensional and realistic 'immigrant' families and characters.”
In light of the B word nobody wants to mention, there is something to be said about the importance of the story at time where the social attitude within UK seems be fuelled by hostility largely aimed at its immigrant population. “I think that in an era of growing resentment towards immigrants, there are many people with 'cultural amnesia' (to quote Stuart Hall) who seem to have forgotten the contribution of immigrants to the UK, or even worse, live in denial of the colonial heritage that encouraged many to migrate to the UK.” Brining back an element of humanity into the conversation ‘Faded’ captures those from other cultures experiencing the emotional rollercoaster of love in a very authentic way, with a view of bringing the gap in the on-screen portrayal of the immigrant population.
“My hope with this story is that it'll encourage people to learn more about the stories that don't necessarily get told in the mainstream, but are an equal part of British history and society.”